Need a gift idea? Think health and wellness

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It’s less than two weeks until Christmas. Do you have everyone taken care of on your gift list? I still need to pick out something for my husband, never an easy task. He asked me the other day what I wanted from him this year. Good question. I really hadn’t thought about what I would like to receive. Then I started thinking back on past gifts he had given me that promoted health and wellness, and that I loved, but would never have purchased for myself.

So, I decided to conduct a very informal poll where I asked a handful of women I work with to share a favorite health or wellness gift received from past holidays or one they would love to see under the tree this year. I was amazed at all the terrific – and varied – gift ideas.

Here are just a few:

Running and/or workout shoes and clothes – Most of the women who responded mentioned these as essential health and wellness items for the holiday gift list. As one respondent (a runner) explained, it’s great getting these as gifts from the family each year because they’re things she wouldn’t spend money on for herself. She’s received workout attire for all types of weather conditions, for better visibility on the road, and for comfort (“a goofy running hat with the hole in the back to accommodate my ponytail.”)

“It seems so frivolous, but I love each of them!”

Another respondent shared that her mom gets her a new pair of workout shoes each Christmas. “I look forward to it as I get to be surprised with a new funky color.”

Hey, if you’re going to work out, you might as well make it fun … right? And, the benefits of regular physical activity can’t be overstated. According to the American Heart Association, regular physical activity helps prevent heart disease and stroke, as well as other serious conditions such as obesity.

As mentioned in one of my earlier blogs, when you work out – whether running, walking, hiking, fitness classes, etc. – make sure you wear footwear that provides plenty of support and that you wear clothes that are flexible, comfortable and appropriately layered for weather conditions. It might be a good idea to suggest a gift certificate to your favorite workout apparel store so you can make sure you get items that fit just right and are appropriate for your activity regimen.

Other fitness items suggested in my poll: snowshoes and snow clothes, arm pocket to hold your cellphone, activity tracker (yes, there are even apps for that), punch cards for classes at the local gyms or rec centers, fitness DVDs for home workouts, subscriptions to health/fitness magazines, hiking boots and poles, gift cards for workout songs to download … and on and on. My colleagues do know how to make staying active lots of fun.

If your idea of health and wellness includes relaxation (and it should), there are plenty of great gift items to consider. Here are just a few suggestions from my colleagues:

Gift certificates for massage. – There are a number of health benefits associated with massage, explains WebMD including relief from back pain, headaches, osteoarthritis and anxiety. Speaking from experience, a massage is a great way to just relax and let the day’s worries or stressors melt away. You may even decide you want to fit massage into your regular health and wellness routine.

Yoga classes, mats and other accessories – According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), part of the National Institutes of Health, research suggests that for many, yoga helps to maintain well-being, and can improve fitness, ease stress, and increase quality of life. Yoga may also assist in providing relief from such conditions as back pain, neck pain, arthritis and anxiety. Again, experience has demonstrated for me how yoga can provide numerous benefits including increased flexibility, strength, calmness and overall positive attitude. Now, I just need to get back to it!

Facials – Oh, how I love facials. As a colleague recently shared in one of her blogs, facials not only help you feel pampered and relaxed, they can help keep skin healthy and young-looking. How can any of us possibly pass that up? Combined with essential oils, a facial could be just what you need to relax and relieve stress, while keeping your skin looking good.

Thanks to a great group of women, I have some terrific gift suggestions to share with my spouse. Truthfully, I can’t think of a better gift than one that encourages health and well-being. Here’s wishing you a wonderful holiday and a new year filled with good health and happiness.

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